Human relations 2013

50% of babies born in Belgium in 2011 had parents who were not married to each other, far above the EU average of 39.5%, according to Eurostat.

28 years is the average age of a woman in Flanders giving birth for the first time, two months later than in 2010. The average age in Brussels is 29 years.

1,867 same-sex couples were married in Belgium last year, according to the federal interior ministry: 940 male and 927 female. In 331 cases one partner was non-Belgian, with French and Dutch partners in the lead.

Some 2,000 babies conceived in Belgium through artificial insemination by donor are thought to be born each year to French lesbian couples, who are not eligible to undergo the procedure in France.

“We have seen a sharp increase in demand over the past three years. The word is getting around in France, our patients are passing the message along,” said Professor Michel Dubois at the University Hospital of Liege, in the southeast of the country.

The children thus conceived even have a nickname —  “Thalys babies” — after the high-speed train service between Brussels and Paris on which their mothers shuttle back and forth — sometimes for years — in their quest to become parents.

French lesbians take 'baby train' to Belgium

0.94 men for every woman in Brussels, compared to a national average of 1.04 men per woman. In other words, while there are slightly more men in the country, there are many more women in the capital.

Looking to find more youngsters to pay for the boom-generation going in retirement, the scientists keep trying to play for god. In a study published in the March issue of scientific journal Nature, researchers from Oregon Health & Science University in the United States described the first creation of human embryonic stem cells by cloning.

35,000 young people in Flanders, most aged 11-12, are the victims of bullying and harassment every week, according to a study by Ghent University.

The first-ever national survey on homophobia, transphobia and sexism has been launched by Bruno De Lille, secretary of state for equal opportunities of the Brussels-Capital Region. Partners collaborating for the survey are the Centre for Equal Rights and the Fight Against Racism and the Institute for Equality Between Women and Men. The study is being carried out by the University of Antwerp.

Homophobic violence has proven difficult to eradicate in both Brussels and Flanders, but also in the ex-Soviet Union. Last year the Belgian federal government, following a number of highly publicised attacks, including one on the Flemish radio presenter Sven Pichal and the country’s first-ever homophobic murder, introduced a national action plan. The plan included, among other provisions, training for the police in dealing with complaints of anti-gay violence.

In 2012, the number of homophobic attacks reported to police was 157, compared to 87 in 2011. The true number, however, is likely to be much higher, as many victims do not report attacks to the police or communicate that homophobia might be a motive. Police in Brussels wrote out administrative fines for homophobic aggression short of physical violence 1,519 times in 2012 – equivalent to four a day.

“There remains a social stigma on gays and transgenders, kept in place by existing power relations and social structures,” said De Lille, who is gay himself. “If we know which factors lie at the basis of this sort of stereotypical thinking, policymaking can be more targeted and more efficient. This study is of major importance.”

Belgium’s Senate committee of justice and social affairs has approved a measure to extend euthanasia to minors. Belgium is the second country in the world with such a law. In cases where the minor is not considered fit to make the decision alone, the advice of a child psychiatrist or psychologist is required. In all cases, parents or legal guardians must approve the minor’s request.

Dhaka Savar Building Collapse.jpg

Aerial view of the Rana Plaza, eight-story commercial building, following the disaster

That the world collapses under its greed and unrespectfulness for other people was shown once more in Bangladesh where an eight-story commercial building collapsed in Savar Upazila near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, leaving 1,129 dead.

The world’s poorest countries are rethinking economic policies that – even during periods of breakneck growth – have failed to provide quality employment capable of matching a demographic boom.



2013 Savar building collapse

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Environment in 2013

In February a meteor exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,491 people and damaging over 4,300 buildings. It was the most powerful meteor to strike Earth’s atmosphere in over a century.

It is a classic element having floods in India. Flash floods and landslides in the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh killed more than 5,700 people and trapped more than 20,000 in June 1430.

Because of warmer water temperatures at the Flemish coast 230 swimmers in one day were stung by jellyfish.

A few times in 2013 people were evacuated in Flanders because of flood warnings.  At one point the government was afraid to have to face again such a disaster as in 1953. But all the measures taken the previous years to make flood walls and protective measures seemed to have worked. No big flooding in the Low Countries for 2013.

Flanders’ public works minister, Hilde Crevits, discussed the possibility of installing artificial sandbanks to help protect the Flemish coast during the SuperStorm conference.

Zeebrugge vanaf Blankenberge

Zeebrugge seen from Blankenberge (Photo credit: saigneurdeguerre)

At the international Super Storm conference, held begin November Flanders’ minister of public works, Hilde Crevits, told that three artificial sandbanks might be built to protect the Flemish coastline between Zeebrugge and the Dutch border. The last of the sandbanks would extend into Dutch coastal waters off the town of Cadzand. The minister argued that sandbanks would not help to protect the coastline between the French border and Zeebrugge, but a chain of three proposed sandbanks could defend the coast to the east of Zeebrugge. She also talked about extending the port of Zeebrugge to provide an additional barrier. The idea of constructing artificial islands is included in the Coastal Defence Plan. The city of Antwerp has also drawn up a plan to protect the city from flooding in the event of a super storm.

Big storms do come more regularly in the picture. In November the East was confronted with  Typhoon Haiyan “Yolanda”, one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record. Most hit were the Philippines and Vietnam, presenting a ‘war zone’ for miles on miles, causing devastation with debris taking months  to be cleaned up and at least 6,149 dead.

In July €511 million cost was counted to the economy of traffic congestion in Brussels, according to the employers’ organisation Beci, based on 32 million hours a year lost in delays, plus the estimated cost of air and noise pollution

There were 600 deaths between 6 July and 4 August as a result of high temperatures and high ozone concentrations, according to an estimate by the federal Scientific Institute for Public Health.

The  250th species of spider discovered in Antwerp in August, in a private garden, did not seem to have any problems of the global warming yet. The wolf spider (Pardosa amentata) adds to the 249 species recorded within the city during a major research project in 2008

Environment minister Joke Schauvliege in 2013 has approved funding of €50,000 each for four projects that bring more green space into cities. From a field of 20, the projects chosen are in Vorselaar, Antwerp province, Veurne in West Flanders, Maldegem in East Flanders and Rotselaar in Flemish Brabant. They include park renovation, green spaces in town centres and the integration of sports facilities.

In September €18 million was approved by the education and environment ministers to help finance the cleaning up of school grounds, such as leaking heating fuel tanks. About 90 of Flanders’ 6,400 schools are thought to require urgent attention.

€210 million was approved by the Flemish environment ministry for 117 sewer projects in 2014. The work is required to improve river water quality and to meet EU targets.

In September environmental organisations in Brussels and Antwerp were holding “protest picnics” to complain about the fine particulates in the air in Flanders’ cities, which are among the highest levels in the world. Belgians lose one year of active life on average because of particulate pollution, according to Bond Beter Leefmilieu.

Brussels Airlines has been rated 121 of 188 international airlines for its climate-friendliness. The ratings were published last week by the German climate-protection group Atmosfair and are based on airlines’ carbon dioxide emissions, or carbon footprint. For years now, Atmosfair points out, car drivers have been able to inform themselves about the carbon performance of cars, while airline passengers could not. The company’s overall ratings put it in efficiency class G – the lowest. No airline made it into class A, though Belgium’s neighbours fared far better: Air France at 21; Alitalia at 22; KLM at 28; Lufthansa at 67;  British Airways at 83.

Entomophagy, or the eating of bugs, is widely regarded as one of the most promising solutions to increasing environmental pressure, worldwide food insecurity and the rising cost of animal protein. Edible insects, which require minimal space to breed and produce no greenhouse gases, are 40 to 70% protein. Corn, in comparison, is only 10%.

While the EU is yet to come out with a clear position on eating insects, Belgium has taken the lead and legalised its own list of 10 insects, making it the first European country where the consumption of insects is officially allowed. The list includes larvae of mealworms, superworms, the African grasshopper, American desert locust and specific subspecies of crickets and beetles. Retailers who want to put insects on the market first have to be registered with the FASFC and abide by all applicable rules concerning hygiene, traceability and labelling.

There are currently only five people in the country breeding insects for human consumption. Antwerp-based Peter De Baptist is the only one who is licensed to distribute and sell insects for human consumption. He has long been lobbying for large-scale consumption and acted as a consultant in the drafting of this list.

“Breeding insects has 10 times less impact on the environment than the breeding of cows and pigs,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “Plus, they are very healthy. Apart from carbohydrates, insects contain everything we need to keep our immune system up and running: protein, not less than 14 vitamins, fatty acids and minerals.”

Additionally, according to De Baptist, most insects are delicious. Raw mealworm larvae taste like hazelnut; when heated they miraculously turn pistachio-flavoured. African grasshopper, depending on the method of preparation, can taste like walnut, bacon or chicken. There is just one thing standing in the way of mass consumption: widespread public distaste. While more than 80% of the world’s population eats insects and humans have been eating bugs for as long as they’ve existed, most Europeans are put off by the sight of grilled beetles on a plate. “There is a need for a change of mentality,” says De Baptist. “Insects are not scary.”

A UNEP treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds was agreed to by delegates from some 140 countries and territories who signed it as the Minamata Treaty.

In November the Belgian fur producers’ association Beffa has described as “absurd” a protest that took place at the weekend in Wervik, West Flanders, against the arrival of a new mink farm. The protest attracted 1,500 opponents to the scheme, which would involve 107,000 minks being reared every year for their fur. While politicians and animal rights organisation Gaia called for a ban on fur farms, a spokesperson for Beffa said the farm was “an ordinary agricultural business in a sector that provides more than 200 jobs.”

In November the government of Flanders launched the International Trauma and Transformation Network to assist regions worldwide involved in war or natural disasters.

The network will have two functions: the handling of different kinds of trauma associated with conflict areas or affected by natural disasters, and later the transformation of societies affected by war by reconstruction and reconciliation. Funding for the launch of the network was set at €150,000.

“With this network we want to group together our local expertise and scientific knowledge of trauma treatment and social transformation,” Peeters said. “In the longer term, the network will be able to be called upon in particular areas and situations worldwide, allowing Flanders’ expertise to be put into action. That could be at the request of an overseas partner or at the Flemish government’s own initiative.”

The government of Flanders has approved a bill to provide a new framework for the production and delivery of drinking water. “This framework will allow our drinking water companies to better control the quality and provision of drinking water supplies,” said environment minister Joke Schauvliege and public health minister Jo Vandeurzen in a joint statement.

Flanders has a well-developed drinking water network of nearly 62,000 kilometres of pipes, with a reservoir capacity of 912,000 cubic metres, the government said. The quality of drinking water is very high, and shortages occur rarely. In 2011, the latest year for which figures are available, more than 11,000 inspections were carried out across the whole network.

The new framework requires water suppliers to develop a strategic plan “from source to tap”, which includes risk evaluation and prevention. It also obliges them to draw up long-term supply and delivery plans to guarantee sufficient safe drinking water for future generations.

“Our water supplies are under pressure from new sorts of pollution, including medicines and pesticides,” commented Schauvliege. “Drinking water companies make intensive use of surface and ground water to ensure drinking water of high quality, but these supplies are not inexhaustible. There are challenges of quantity as well as quality.”

“This revised legislation,” noted Vandeurzen, “with its public service obligations regarding disaster provision, quality management and risk management makes it clear what is expected of municipal authorities and civil protection. Clear agreements are the key to a better approach.”

Joke Schauvliege represented the collective position of Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region at the UN climate change talks in Warsaw. She told De Morgen before leaving for Warsaw that it was essential to reach agreement on capping the rise of global temperatures at two degrees Celsius.

“Global warming has disastrous consequences for all of us,” she said. “Just think of the scale of the natural disasters that have hit in recent years. Typhoon Haiyan makes it clear that there are serious problems with our climate.”

The government of Flanders has already agreed on a Climate Plan for 2013-2020. But organisations such as Greenpeace remain critical of the steps taken by the government to cut CO2 emissions and develop a sustainable energy policy by 2020. In a Greenpeace “report card”, Flanders scored just two out of 10 for its climate change efforts, while Wallonia received five to seven out of 10. Schauvliege dismissed the report as “poorly compiled” and points out that Wallonia has not yet drawn up a climate plan.
Flanders is amongst the regions with the highest concentration of fine dust in Europe.

Thousands of small farming families in Pará, in the Amazon jungle in northeast Brazil, have turned to the African oil palm as a new source of income, through contracts with biofuel companies.



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Heengaan van een groot leider


Mandela (Photo credit: mrgarethm)

Tijdens de afgelopen 10 dagen van rouw hebben meerdere wereldleiders hun  medeleven betuigd over diegene waarvan men zegt:

‘Hij behoort de eeuwigheid toe’

De Amerikaanse president Barack Obama noemde Mandela ‘een van de meest invloedrijke, moedigste, en waarlijk goede mensen die ooit geleefd heeft.’

‘Dankzij zijn ontembare waardigheid en zijn onwankelbare wil om zijn eigen vrijheid op te offeren voor de vrijheid van anderen, heeft hij Zuid-Afrika omgevormd en ons allen ontroerd’, verklaarde president Obama vanuit het Witte Huis. ‘Hij heeft meer gedaan dan wat we van een persoon kunnen verwachten’, aldus Obama, die de voormalige Zuid-Afrikaanse president slechts eenmaal kort heeft ontmoet in 2005.

‘Vandaag is hij weg en we hebben één van de meest invloedrijke en moedigste mensen, en één van de diepst goede personen op deze planeet verloren’, ging de VS-president voort. ‘Hij is niet meer onder ons, hij hoort bij de eeuwigheid.’


Lees meer:

‘Zuid-Afrika heeft zijn grootste zoon verloren’
Mensen zongen en dansten de hele nacht voor de woning van Mandela in
Soweto om hulde te brengen aan hun overleden ex-president. De sfeer
voelde veeleer aan als een viering dan een stil gebed. Jongeren en
ouderen droegen vlaggen, dansten, zongen de nationale hymne en
anti-apartheidliederen, riepen ‘Leve Mandela’ en droegen kaarsen,
terwijl de politie de wijk heeft afgezet voor alle verkeer.

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013),
strijder voor een betere wereld

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) was één van die zeldzame mensen die
reeds tijdens hun leven een iconische legende werden. Dat heeft de man meer
dan verdiend. Zijn strijd tegen de raciale apartheid van Zuid-Afrika blijft
een inspiratie voor de strijd tegen de economische apartheid van de één
procent tegen de rest. Mandela toont ons dat sociale strijd altijd zinvol
is. Een respectvolle terugblik.

Nelson Mandela is overleden

Mandela: van dissident tot Nobelprijswinnaar

Wereldleiders betuigen medeleven: ‘Hij behoort de eeuwigheid toe’

In Beeld. Het bewogen leven van Mandela + Wereld staat stil bij dood Mandela

Beroemde quotes van Nelson Mandela

Foto. Zijn levensverhaal in 20 iconische beelden

Zuid-Afrika rouwt om verlies van Madiba
mensen zijn in de loop van de nacht toegestroomd voor het huis van
Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg voor een geïmproviseerde wake. In
verschillende steden zijn herdenkingsplechtigheden gehouden.

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Raul Castro’s Speech at Mandela’s Memorial

Remind ourselves that Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit and was not so stubborn to keep himself high in the picture. He was humble and wise to go not for his best but for the best of the people he loved. The South African word Ubuntu describes his greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.

Many Americans and deserted Cubans may feel affronted by the act of president Obama giving a peaceful hand to the new president of Cuba, who still has to prove which way he wants to go with Cuba after his brother.

Let us remember the gestures, large and small – introducing his jailors as honored guests at his inauguration; taking the pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV and Aids – that revealed the depth of his empathy and understanding. He not only embodied Ubuntu; he taught millions to find that truth within themselves. It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailor as well; to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion, generosity and truth. He changed laws, but also hearts.



  • Ted Cruz Walks Out During Raul Castro Speech at Mandela Funeral (
    “Just as Mandela was released after 27 years in prison, Castro should finally release his political prisoners; he should hold free elections, and once and for all set the Cuban people free,” the spokesperson said.

    Cruz’s father, Rafael, is from Cuba, and he came to the United States before Raul’s brother–Fidel Castro–came to power in 1959.

  • Obama Shakes Raúl Castro’s Hand (
    Mandela managed as his last action got all of his fellow Communists together. Obama fit in with all of the Communist despots and was eager to shake their hands. It looks like Obama bowed slightly to Castro.
  • Raul Castro’s Speech at Mandela’s Memorial (
    remember at this moment his bond of affection with Fidel Castro, a symbol of the fraternal relations between Africans and Cubans.  Fidel has said, and I quote, “Nelson Mandela will not go down in history for the 27 consecutive years he spent incarcerated without ever renouncing his ideas.  He will go down in history because he was capable of cleaning out his soul from the poison that such an unfair punishment could have planted there and for his generosity and wisdom which at the time of victory allowed him to lead with great talent his selfless and heroic people, knowing that the new South Africa could not be built on hatred and vengeance”.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz walked out of Mandela memorial service when Cuba’s murderous dictator Raul Castro began his speech (
    Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) walked out of the memorial service for Nelson Mandela when Cuban “president” Raúl Castro began speaking.
  • Obama shakes hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro (
    It would hardly have been noteworthy, except the men locking hands in Johannesburg were Barack Obama and Raul Castro, whose nations have been mired in Cold War antagonism for more than five decades.

    A single, cordial gesture is unlikely to wash away bad blood dating back to the Eisenhower administration. But in a year that has seen both sides take small steps at improving the relationship, the handshake stoked talk of further rapprochement.

    “On the one hand you shouldn’t make too much of this. Relations between Cuba and the United States are not changing tomorrow because they shook hands,” said Geoff Thale, a Cuba analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a U.S.-based think tank.

    He contrasted the moment to a 2002 development summit where then-Mexican President Vicente Fox asked Fidel Castro to leave to avoid having him in the same room as U.S. President George W. Bush.

    “What’s really striking here is the contrast,” Thale said. “It’s a modestly hopeful sign, and it builds on the small steps that they’re taking.”

  • Obama-Castro redux: Image of a handshake, but a speech with a backhanded slap (
    A few have noted the president “bowed” to Castro. It’s a function of the president being so much taller than the little dictator, and being decorous at an event on the world stage. The encounter just didn’t look like an act of obeisance by Obama.
    What’s the president of the United States supposed to do — snub another world leader at the funeral of a great world figure who was friends with that other world leader? That wouldn’t be very Mandela of Obama.Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on ABC steered clear of overtly criticizing, but said “If he was going to shake his hand …he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba.”Later Tuesday, Miami Republican Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen was more outraged. During a House hearing on a possible nuclear deal with Iran, Ros-Lehtinen criticized the deal and then transitioned to Cuba, telling Secretary of State John Kerry that, when Obama shook the “bloody hand” of Raul Castro it was a “propaganda coup” for the dictator”Today is about honoring Nelson Mandela,” Kerry said. “We didn’t choose who was there.”Ros-Lehtinen: Is Castro upholding human rights?
    Kerry: “No. Absolutely not.”
  • Obama, Raul Castro shake hands at Mandela funeral (
    Rep. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, said, “If the president was going to shake his hand, he should have asked him about those basic freedoms Mandela was associated with that are denied in Cuba.”
    Is President Obama a lame duck already?

    While he doesn’t quite qualify as a lame-duck president – a term reserved for the 10-week period after a successor has been elected – Mr. Obama has seen his ability to set and carry out an agenda significantly curtailed just a year into his second term. Political scientists and scholars tend to point to two reasons for this: an obstinate, Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and the botched roll out of the Affordable Care Act, the president’s signature legislative achievement.

    “It has almost nothing to do with his length of service, his public opinion standings, or the focus shifting to Democrats and Republicans who might replace him,” said Tom Mann, a governance studies expert at the Brookings Institution. “It’s almost entirely a consequence of a Republican House of Representatives and the sort of relentless opposition from the out party.”

  • Obama greets leaders, including Raul Castro, at Mandela memorial (
    The U.S. president also greeted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who has filed a formal protest with the United States and rebuked the National Security Agency for its eavesdropping on world leaders.

    Obama has criticized the Cuban government’s restrictions on civil rights but also said the United States must “find new mechanisms and tools” to deal with the nation. His administration has eased restrictions on American travel to Cuba and negotiated over issues including immigration, postal services and possible oil spills.

    In September 2000, then-President Bill Clinton and Fidel Castro shook hands at the United Nations in what Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called a “chance encounter.” It was believed to be the first time Castro had shaken hands with a sitting U.S. president.

JSC: Jamaicans in Solidarity with Cuba

President Jacob Zuma, relatives of Nelson Mandela, distinguished dignitaries, fraternal people of South Africa, let us pay an emotional tribute to Nelson Mandela, the ultimate symbol of dignity and unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle for freedom and justice; a prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation.

Alongside his comrades in the struggle, Mandela has led his people in the battle against apartheid to open the way to a new South Africa, a non-racial and a united South Africa, in its quest for happiness, equality and the well-being of all of its children; a nation bent on overcoming the consequences of colonialism, slavery and racial segregation.

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Uniting world at Memorial for Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013 MadibaTuesday

More than 90 current heads of state attending and thousands of South Africans came together on Tuesday in the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg for the final tribute to Mandela, one of the greatest events of this century according to the press.

Millions of mourners are expected to attend the memorial ceremony at Johannesburg's Soccer City stadium

Millions of mourners followed the memorial ceremony at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium

The world was to remember a great statesman who very well know his limitations and could admit to imperfection. Sometimes he did look like made of steel, but he was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood – a son and husband, a father and a friend of many, not restricting himself to the ones from ‘the left’ or from ‘the right’.

The performance of Mandela can be compared with the life’s work of Mahatma Ghandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King. Mandela’s commitment to freedom and democracy fits in the row of the greats of history.

He did not restrict himself to meeting with like minded of himself and his other friends. He did dare to cross boarders. Like other early giants of the ANC – the Sisulus and Tambos – Madiba disciplined his anger; and channelled his desire to fight into organisation, and platforms, and strategies for action, so men and women could stand-up for their dignity. Even those who were against him, he did not mind to shake hands with  and to try to come to the senses. That is why we learned so much from him; that is why we can learn from him still.  For nothing he achieved was inevitable.  In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness; persistence and faith.  He should be an example for many generations to come because he tells us what’s possible not just in the pages of dusty history books, but in our own lives as well.

For Belgium king Philip (Filip), prime minister Elio di Rupo, Vlaams Minister-President Kris Peeters and foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders were present with the Flemish Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Union. For the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  and behalf Netherlands were King Willem-Alexander and Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans present.

For me it is strange that one of the main figures of the European Union, German chancellor angel Merkel,  was not present.
Dagmar Dehmer writes in Der Tagesspiegel:

“What does Angela Merkel actually want to convey with this rather cool decision not to travel to South Africa? That she does not particularly care about Africa?… The decision to stay away from the celebrations of the life and lifetime achievements of Nelson Mandela is wrong.”

Also not present was the Dalai Lama, who could not receive twice a visum to South Africa the previous years.

Notable for the United States were Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush en Bill Clinton, and Richard Branson and prince Charles for the U.K.. Stars like supermodel Naomi Campbell and musicians Bono, Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel came to honour their idol.

Former South African president F.W. De Klerk arrived with his wife Elita for the memorial service. “We are very grateful that the nation is coming together in this wonderful way,” said de Klerk, the last white president of South Africa and co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela.

Former South African president F.W. De Klerk arrived with his wife Elita for the memorial service.

The last white president of South Africa and co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela, F.W. De Klerk with his wife Elita alsopresent said to be

“ very grateful that the nation is coming together in this wonderful way.”

The former South African first black president’s body was not brought to the national memorial service in Johannesburg. His voice was not heard over the loudspeakers, though many others’ were. And in a peculiarly rambling, rain-soaked event that got bogged down in domestic politics and ended in a near empty stadium. According  of the Guardian in Johannesburg, at times it felt as if Mandela’s soul was absent too.

All over the world people could see singing and dancing Africans, black and whites, rich and poor, together united in joy for what Mandela had done. SABC was airing the memorial live on Tuesday, and showed the only black spot on the memorial with images of Zuma arriving at the FNB Stadium, both on TV and big screens inside, when people in the crowd began to jeer and boo.

During preparation for the evening’s news bulletin in South Africa, head of news Jimi Matthews allegedly told staff the booing incidents should not be included and that booing should rather be referred to as “unruly behaviour” by people in the crowd.

Jacob Zuma, former vice president of South Africa.

Jacob Zuma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the Flemish news the reporter asked several spectators and security officers why there was such booing and why the security officer tried to silence those that booed. Many spectators said the press  better concentrated on the reason why they where there, remembering Mandela and not for talking about president Zuma.

Several South African papers focus on the reception given to President Jacob Zuma at the memorial service, with South Africa’s City Press saying the booing was the “start of a very public rebellion”.

The front page of South Africa’s The Times says simply “Rain boo nation”, while The Citizen carries the headline “What a shame”.

An editorial on the Times Live website says:

“It is a pity that, on the day the world came together to pay homage to Nelson Mandela, large sections of the crowd at the official memorial service heckled and booed President Jacob Zuma. Not because our scandal-prone, often bumbling, president doesn’t deserve it – he manifestly does… Yesterday was a day to celebrate a giant – and our president paid the price for failing to measure up.”

On Tuesday morning president Obama and former President George W. Bush with their wives had arrived. The main speaker was the current South African President Jacob Zuma. The presidents of Brazil, India and the Chinese vice president spoke of a farewell.

When the president of athe United States went up the stairs to give his speech he encountered the five other speakers of the ceremony. He first passed the ‘state enemy’ for 50 years already, the Cuban president. A rare gesture between the leaders of two ideological opponents that reflected the anti-apartheid hero’s spirit of reconciliation. U.S. President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro. This gesture brought much commotion in the American press where many jokes also found their way on television that night. On Flemish television many angry Cubans, living in the U.S. where shown not to be pleased with such an act, like it would be able to open a reconciliation with Cuba. Cuban papers do not mention the handshake between President Raul Castro and Mr Obama but focus on Mr Castro’s speech at the memorial instead.

In Mexico, two papers praise Mr Obama highly for shaking hands with the Cuban president.
El Universal says: “In the end, with his courteous gesture to Raul Castro, Obama put himself forward like a statesman worthy of taking up the baton left by Mandela.”
Mexico’s La Prensa points out that the US and Cuba “are two countries that have been at odds for half a century and for a few seconds, they had their first rapprochement”.

For other international papers this gesture was used as a peg to explore relations between the two countries and noticing Raul Castro saying that even in death, Mr Mandela achieved reconciliation..

The U.S. President Obama paid tribute to a hero and a leader — and spoke about the path that’s still ahead, but also Cuban President Raul Castro expressed the grieving crowd. To cheers, US President Barack Obama hailed Mr Mandela as the “last great liberator of the 20th Century”



Obama said:

To the people of South Africa – people of every race and walk of life – the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us.  His struggle was your struggle.  His triumph was your triumph.  Your dignity and hope found expression in his life, and your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.

It is hard to eulogise any man – to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person – their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul.  How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.

Given the sweep of his life, and the adoration that he so rightly earned, it is tempting then to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men.  But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, he insisted on sharing with us his doubts and fears; his miscalculations along with his victories.  “I’m not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

Mandela taught us the power of action, but also ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those you agree with, but those who you don’t.  He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet.  He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and passion, but also his training as an advocate. He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement.  And he learned the language and customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depended upon his.

Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough; no matter how right, they must be chiseled into laws and institutions.  He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history.  On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of conditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that, “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.”  But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal.  And because he was not only a leader of a movement, but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy; true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.


We will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.  But let me say to the young people of Africa, and young people around the world – you can make his life’s work your own.  Over thirty years ago, while still a student, I learned of Mandela and the struggles in this land.  It stirred something in me.  It woke me up to my responsibilities – to others, and to myself – and set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today.  And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be better.  He speaks to what is best inside us.  After this great liberator is laid to rest; when we have returned to our cities and villages, and rejoined our daily routines, let us search then for his strength – for his largeness of spirit – somewhere inside ourselves.  And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, or our best laid plans seem beyond our reach – think of Madiba, and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of a cell:

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

What a great soul it was.  We will miss him deeply.  May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela.  May God bless the people of South Africa.

US President Barack Obama (right) offers his condolences to Nelson Mandela's wife, Graça Machel. (AFP)

Graça Machel, Nelson Mandela’s 2° wife with US President Barack Obama offering his condolences

“Planet Mandela” (L’Humanite) was not totally filled because many people could not reach the memorial place, or like Obama arrived not on time, held back by traffic. On that rainy day the rainbow nation could give a voice to the world giving the sign that many should also have chosen the path of non-violence to prevent the foreign war in their country and to fully ensure their national unity and sovereignty. (cfr. Afghanistan). Many newspapers all over the world agreed that

Mr Mandela “will be an example and inspiration to billions of people.”

President Zuma described, in his speech, the moment the world first saw a “tall, imposing figure walking out into a world he had left behind 27 years before”. For him South Africans were, at that time, a “downtrodden people” and that they “needed a leader like Madiba”. And Madiba Mandela was the right “freedom fighter” for the black people of South Africa.

US President Barack Obama's group self-portrait with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and her UK counterpart David Cameron

US President Barack Obama’s group self-portrait with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and her UK counterpart David Cameron

A picture of Thorning-Schmidt taking a smartphone picture of herself, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron quickly went viral, with some users on social media – mostly from outside South Africa – commenting that it seemed an inappropriate thing to do at a memorial service. But the photographer responsible for capturing the moment, Agence France-Presse’s Roberto Schmidt, disagreed.

“I captured the scene reflexively,” Schmidt recounted in a blog post.

“All around me in the stadium, South Africans were dancing, singing and laughing to honour their departed leader. It was more like a carnival atmosphere, not at all morbid. The ceremony had already gone on for two hours and would last another two. The atmosphere was totally relaxed – I didn’t see anything shocking in my viewfinder, president of the US or not. We are in Africa.”

It also showed how those leaders are also common people, loving to have some snapshots for their family, like any other tourist.

“I know that I’m going to focus on what was most important yesterday [Tuesday] … I’m not going to be distracted by petty sidelines,”

said US ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday, when asked about the incident. He also condemned “petty cynicism” that could distract from properly remembering Mandela.

South Africans seemed impressed that so many world leaders had travelled to the memorial, and were unsurprised that they socialised while at the service. In the FNB Stadium, Obama was warmly received, and widely praised for his touching remarks.

President Barack Obama stands next to the sign language interpreter after making his speech (AP)

The man who provided sign language interpretation on stage for Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, proved once more that the ANC still have to do a lot of work concerning the people they will have around them. This fake interprator was simply “making childish hand gestures” for hours, making no sense in any language to those relying on him around the world, and did not seem to know the recognised signs for South Africa, Mr Mandela’s clan name Madiba, President Jacob Zuma or former President Thabo Mbeki.

On television we could hear some negative voices a s well on that day.

Mandela’s death at the age of 95 has diverted attention from a slew of corruption scandals in Zuma’s administration, while underscoring the gulf between South Africa’s first black president, a giant of the 20th century, and its fourth.

“Mandela had a vision. Mandela lived that vision,”

said Funeka Gingcara-Sithole, 31, who was in the crowd.

“But what Zuma speaks, he doesn’t live. He should do the honorable thing and resign.”

A pity we did hear many similar voices, regretting that the work of Madiba was not continued and that many in the government now did not live up to the spirit of their previous great leader.


On Wednesday, Gaspard also took no official notice of either the behaviour of the crowd at the memorial – which the ANC characterised as problematic – or the booing of President Jacob Zuma.

The visiting US delegation, Gaspard said when asked about their reaction to the atmosphere in the stadium, had “remarked on the positive outpouring of support” for Mandela and his legacy.

He described the audience as “spirited folks”.

Nelson Mandela’s distraught widow was among thousands of mourners who paid their last respects before his open casket Wednesday, as the much-loved leader lay in state.

Among the dignitaries were Mandela’s former political foe FW de Klerk, ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and musician and activist Bono.

The Irish rocker accompanied Mandela’s long time aide-de-camp Zelda Le Grange, who appeared heartbroken and needed to be supported throughout.

Navy officers stand guard by the coffin of South African …
Navy officers, clad in white dress uniform, heads bowed, eyes closed and swords pointing downward, stand guard at each end of the casket in respect of the father of the nation of South Africa

Thousands more people who were in the queue, which at one point stretched for around one and a half kilometres (a mile), were unable to complete their mission.

They, along with thousands of others, will get a second chance on Thursday.


Please do find:

  1. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba passed away
  2. Master of disguise And five other things you didn’t know about Mandela
  3. Apartheid: 46 years in 90 seconds
  4. Milestones in video and pictures
  5. Destroyer of apartheid
  6. Preparations for the ‘greatest event of the century” flemish commercial television VTM: Viering nachtmerrie voor veiligheid
    De herdenkingsplechtigheid voor Nelson Mandela morgen gaat door in het Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. Ze verwachten daar 95.000 mensen, waaronder tal van koningen, presidenten, ministers en vedetten van over de hele wereld. Die mensen hun veiligheid garanderen is een gigantische operatie. Maar het is maar de vraag op de Zuid-Afrikanen daar klaar voor zijn.
  7. FCO warns British tourists in South Africa over Nelson Mandela’s memorial service
  8. As it happened: Nelson Mandela memorial service
  9. Live: The World Gathers for Nelson Mandela’s Memorial Service
  10. Lovely photographs of the occasion: Bijna de hele wereld bij herdenking Mandela 33 foto’s
  11. ‘Let Mandela Be a Beacon’: What Teachers Will Tell Their Students Friday
  12. World media reflect on Mandela memorial service
  13. World leaders pay tribute to Mandela
  14. Obama and Castro shake hands, Zuma humiliated at Mandela memorial
  15. Obama pays homage to ‘great soul’ of Mandela
  16. Barack Obama lights up damp Nelson Mandela memorial
  17. Nelson Mandela memorial interpreter ‘was a fake’
  18. SABC censors footage of Zuma booing at Mandela memorial
  19. Tears as Mandela lies in state
  20. Cameron jokes about Mandela ‘selfie’ with a Kinnock



  • Raul Castro’s Speech at Mandela’s Memorial (
    President Jacob Zuma, relatives of Nelson Mandela, distinguished dignitaries, fraternal people of South Africa, let us pay an emotional tribute to Nelson Mandela, the ultimate symbol of dignity and unwavering dedication to the revolutionary struggle for freedom and justice; a prophet of unity, peace and reconciliation.
  • (tiny Photos) Nelson Mandela Memorial Service (
    Tens of thousands of people joined world leaders at a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. The service was held at the FNB stadium, where Mr Mandela made his last public appearance. It was also shown on big screens at three “overflow” stadiums.
  • Behind Obama’s Handshake With Raúl Castro (
    When President Obama shook hands with the Cuban President, Raúl Castro, on Tuesday, in the V.I.P. section at Nelson Mandela’s memorial in Johannesburg, there was more at work than mere politeness between heads of state, although that certainly played a part. Bill Clinton shook Fidel Castro’s hand at a U.N. gathering in 2000. As the first African-American President of the United States, and an avowed admirer of Nelson Mandela since his youth, Obama has to know of the historic role played by Cuba in the anti-apartheid struggle.
    In the United States, Obama, too, represents a new era, a post-ideological world and one of diminished expectations, but one also made better and fairer by Nelson Mandela. Obama himself is the benefactor of an epic political struggle that took place a generation and more ago, in which Mandela may have had a more directly positive role than some of the men who previously occupied the White House. Paradoxically, given the constraints remaining in their own country, the Castro brothers played a role, too. If handshakes are symbols of reconciliation, then it is historically fitting that Obama and Raúl Castro greeted one another today in Johannesburg’s FNB soccer stadium.
  • President Obama leads tributes to Nelson Mandela at memorial service (
    President Obama spoke early in the ceremony and there were reports that many left the huge stadium after his address. When president Zuma rose to speak he was greeted by jeering so loud that organisers cut in with a musical interlude to drown out the boos from the crowd.
  • Mandela – Rest in Peace (
  • Nelson Mandela memorial service: Obama says, ‘We, too, must act’ on justice, peace (
    “Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs; and are still persecuted for what they look like, or how they worship, or who they love.”
    “These world leaders should listen to what he said,” said Kagiso Mfikoe, who lives in Soweto Township. “That’s what we need in Africa.”
  • Mandela unites world (
    The world leaders joined several Hollywood stars and supermodels who also braved the rains to pay their last respect to the liberation icon.

    The mourners in the half full 95 000 capacity stadium who braved the rains gave a standing ovation to former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who took over the reins from Mandela, United States President Barack Obama and Zimbabwean leader President Robert Mugabe.

    But South African President Jacob Zuma was loudly booed, suffering political humiliation as the world watched.

    Sections of the crowd jeered when Zuma arrived at the venue in Soweto and each time his face appeared on giant screens during the ceremony, in contrast to the reception given to Mbeki, Obama and Mugabe.

    In a rare gesture between leaders of the ideologically opposed nations that reflected the anti-apartheid hero’s spirit of reconciliation, Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro at the memorial.

  • Obama Shakes Hands With Cuba’s Raul Castro at Mandela’s Funeral (
    Obama also shook hands with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, who has been highly critical of the United States following this summer’s NSA surveillance revelations. She even called off a visit to Washington in September to protest the reported NSA spying on Brazil’s state oil agency Petrobras.
  • ‘Stop comparing Zuma and Mandela’ (
    ANC national executive committee member Bheki Cele has cautioned against comparing President Jacob Zuma with former president Nelson Mandela, saying the two men are from different eras.

    He was delivering the keynote address at Mandela’s memorial service in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday evening.

    “Mandela is a man of his time, just like other leaders who have made their mark in different times of history. This obsession with comparisons must stop,” said Cele.

    He also lashed at the people who jeered Zuma at the memorial service at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

    “No amount of anger allows people to embarrass the president. Anyone who does that is a fool, because if there are problems they should be solved through discussions,” added Cele.

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Mandela Day by Simple minds in remembrance

In remembrance of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba who passed away this video with a song by the rock band Simple Minds from their album Street Fighting Years.

Simple Minds was the first band to sign up for Mandela Day, a concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, UK, on the 11th of June 1988, as an expression of solidarity with the then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela. Bands involved were asked to produce a song especially for the event – Simple Minds was the only act which actually produced one.

It was played live on that day (alongside cover versions of “Sun City” with Little Steven and a cover version of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” on which Gabriel himself took on lead vocals).




It was 25 years they take that man away
 Now the freedom moves in closer every day
 Wipe the tears down from your saddened eyes
 They say Mandela’s free so step outside
 Oh oh oh oh Mandela day
 Oh oh oh oh Mandela’s free

It was 25 years ago this very day
 Held behind four walls all through night and day
 Still the children know the story of that man
 And I know what’s going on right through your land

25 years ago
 Na na na na Mandela day
 Oh oh oh Mandela’s free

If the tears are flowing wipe them from your face
 I can feel his heartbeat moving deep inside
 It was 25 years they took that man away
 And now the world come down say Nelson Mandela’s free

Oh oh oh oh Mandela’s free

The rising suns sets Mandela on his way
 Its been 25 years around this very day
 From the one outside to the ones inside we say
 Oh oh oh oh Mandela’s free
 Oh oh oh set Mandela free

Na na na na Mandela day
 Na na na na Mandela’s free

25 years ago
 What’s going on
 And we know what’s going on
 Cos we know what’s going on



  • The day I met Mandela (
    I got to Johannesburg a week before Nelson Mandela was freed. At the door of my hotel a man offered to clean my shoes. I’d photographed anti-apartheid demonstrations in London and felt embarrassed at the thought of a black man cleaning my shoes.
  • Nelson Mandela: national day of prayer for country’s ‘guiding light’ (
    South Africans pack places of worship on day marking beginning of week-long goodbye to country’s first black president South Africans have flocked to churches for a national day of prayer to remember Nelson Mandela and pray for the country’s future, following the death of South Africa’s first black president on Thursday.
  • What Mandela meant to me… (
    Mandela was an internationalist and the links that he made between different struggles against injustice across the world shows that. In the outpouring of grief across the world at the passing of Mandela, he has often been spoken of as a saint – Indians already have their own saint in Gandhi, so the tributes in India have often made comparisons between the two men. Gandhi started his struggle against racism and un-freedom in South Africa, where many Indians (coloureds) joined the anti-apartheid struggle under the leadership of the ANC. Mandela was aware of this history when he said, “There has been a golden thread that has bound our peoples together for many, many decades – a thread woven during the long, arduous and bitter years of struggle against common enemies: racism, imperialism and colonialism” (Mainstream, New Delhi, June 18, 1994). Both Gandhi and Mandela faced the same dilemma – how does a leader lead a movement into a government. Gandhi (murdered in 1948) didn’t have to struggle with this for long, but Mandela did – not always well either, but always honestly and with the interests of the whole of South Africa at heart. A post-colonial history of both India and South Africa is entwined and leads also to the UK, where the outpouring of accolade and grief has been great, and where I have been a grief stricken bystander during these days of personal reflection of the passing of one the truly great personages of our time.
  • A Lesson From Nelson Mandela/ Martin Rosenfeld, JD (
    Deroy Murdock wrote a piece on Nelson Mandela for National Review Online. He acknowledges a mistake in judgment. Mr. Murdock had rued the release of Mr. Mandela, from his 27-year imprisonment. Perhaps Mr. Mandela was yet another Fidel Castro in the offing. Such thoughts entered Mr. Murdock’s mind at that moment in history. Mr. Murdock now can state “I really blew it very, very, very badly.”
    Nelson Mandela recognized that a lack of forgiveness hurts all. That includes the victim himself. When it is time to move on, a continued insistence on recounting past hurts makes life quite burdensome and too challenging. If you were hurt, whether it be in business, marital matters, socially, etc. recognize what Mr. Mandela taught. If you must take revenge doing it by moving on and seeking new accomplishments. That is all that Mr. Mandela needed to start him on his way to becoming on of the most beloved statesmen in our time.
  • | Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it is done.” (
    Inspired by Mandela’s vision, climate activists made a video last June during the Global Power Shift convergence coordinated by our crew.
    As a South African, I am filled with an overwhelming appreciation for a man that gave my country so much — freedom, love, compassion, empathy, graciousness and of course, himself. His selfless determination is what we remember this great soul by, and we will continue to keep him very close to our hearts.
  • The Special A.K.A.: “Free Nelson Mandela” (
    On a lighter note Billy Bragg had a great quote regarding Nelson Mandela. During one of his concerts I attended in the 1980’s someone, probably/hopefully in jest, yelled “Free Bird!” Without missing a beat Bragg smiled and said, “You always know you’re in the States when, invariably, someone yells ‘Free Bird’ … everywhere else in the world that I play people yell ‘Free Mandela’”.
  • The death of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (
    Nelson Mandela started out as a boxer and ended up a leader of a country. I guess being a boxer taught him how to fight literally and figuratively. As a young black man you will have to face and navigate your own challenges with the same calculated deliberate movements. Much like other black leaders, like President Barack Obama and Reverend Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. you will face and endure discrimination, at some moments it will be obvious but most times it will be an underlying opposition. As a black man you will have to be 3 times better to compete in a subjective world where certain biases are not in your favor. You have to be more prepared, more determined, and always ready. You will receive an extra helping of scrutiny and criticism at every turn.  I wish I could say something softer, nicer to make you feel comfortable but this is the world we live in. It doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed, it means that you must be better than the pack. You can change the world by just trying to make a difference. To even comprehend what Nelson Mandela was to the world, you have to recognize the world for what it is and make it better. Nelson Mandela had to surmount huge obstacles in a world that continuously opposed him. He will always be an icon of leadership and hope, a representative of peace to the entire world.
  • Nelson Mandela dies: the story behind his 70th birthday concert (

    In 1987, I met with Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, President of the Anti Apartheid Movement in Britain, and told him that I thought that they and the ANC had reached a glass ceiling in their communications.

    In my view, the way they were presented to the public – as protesters in the street – could only appeal to a small percentage of the world’s population. If they were to appeal more broadly we had to reposition them as positive and confident.

  • The huge role of music in Nelson Mandela’s struggle for freedom (
    In his autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, Nelson Mandela wrote “I am told that when ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ posters went up in London, most young people thought my Christian name was: ‘Free’.”

    Up until 1984, Mandela’s name was not widely known outside of political activist circles. That all changed though with the release of a hit single, Free Nelson Mandela, which climbed to the top of the charts in countries around the world.

    The song’s writer, Jerry Dammers of The Specials ska group, didn’t know who Nelson Mandela was until he went to a concert in 1983 by South African musician Hugh Masekela. He heard Masekela shout out “Free Mandela” at the end of his set.

  • Remembering an icon in Nelson Mandela (
    Every Generation has one or more light houses to guide them the ups and downs. Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba was one of those lighthouses in more ways than one; in fact, we can say he was one of the few that towered above the others to bring mankind into a new era of being.
  • Nelson Mandela has passed away peacefully at the age of 95. (
  • Nelson Mandela (
  • Vale Nelson Mandela (
  • Nelson Mandela Resources (
Posted in News and Politics, Thoughts of others | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fareed’s take on Nelson Mandela

This weekend on the Global Public Square (CNN) we could follow a very interesting discussion about Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy with  Peter Godwin, a former human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe, foreign correspondent at BBC, and author of the book Wild at Heart: Man and Beast in Southern Africa (2008), which features a forward written by Nelson Mandela, Peter Beinart, an associate professor of journalism at the City University of New York and a senior political writer at Newsweek Daily Beast, and Khehla Shubane, a political prisoner at Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela, who also became the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

Fareed Zakaria remebers Nelson Mandela when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 that he spoke with the language, cadence and manner of figures from the 1940s and 1950s. For him, as for me, he reminded us of the moving pictures we had seen of Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru and the other great national leaders from the post-colonial who had lead their countries to freedom.

He had the same formal way of speaking and dressing, the same dignity of bearing, the same sense of history.  And Mandela really was a throwback to an older time of great leaders, who through courage and sheer willpower, changed the course of history.

Twenty-seven years in prison had kept intact his manners, but also his morals.  His most important act, of course, was forgiveness, but he didn’t just talk about reconciliation, he took painful actions to make it real.

What is most important for us to remember this man is his attitude to his oppressor. Instead of vengeance, Mandela sought truth and reconciliation.  He never claimed to be a a saint and did not want to be worshipped. He was a man of his time who took the courage to make right decisions, not always wanting to have his say nor his way. He was willing to listen and to discuss. Being a political genius, for him not his personal “I” was to get in the picture, but for him it was most important that he could saved his country, which should become a “Rainbow country” where many differently coloured people could live together in peace.

Mandela knew what was in his country’s best interest.  He steered it in a pro-Western, pro-democratic, pro-market direction.  And, yet, he kept faith with his old comrades, honouring them, never forgetting their support when he and his movement were in the wilderness.

His final act of greatness was leaving office.  Very few black, African leaders had ever left office voluntarily in 1999 when Nelson Mandela did, after just one term.

He wanted to make sure that South African democracy did not descend into a cult of personality or dynasty.  He was, in this sense, South Africa’sGeorge Washington.

As much as one man can shape a country’s future, Nelson Mandela did it for South Africa.  And, in doing so, he also shaped the conscious of the entire world.


Please do find the transcript and video of the interesting CNN broadcasting: Nelson Mandela’s Life and Legacy on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS

Preceding post: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba passed away

Find also: Westboro Baptist Church and Catholic Truth against Nelson Mandela



On his 80th birthday, July 18, 1998, Mandela married Graca Machel, the widow of former Mozambican President Samora Machel.

  • Some nice pictures can be seen at R.I.P.: Nelson Mandela (
  • mandela-10

    After more than 27 years in detention, Mandela walks out of the Victor-Verster Prison in Paarl on Feb. 11, 1990, accompanied by his wife Winnie.

  • “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela (
    There is something special about this quote. I know that not everything in life is possible. However, with determination, desire, and many other such traits people can achieve what was once thought of as impossible.
  • Nelson Mandela has passed away peacefully at the age of 95. (
    Nelson Mandela, in my eyes was someone who I could look up to. He fought for our human rights, and the apartheid that happened around 1990-1994 is truly an event we’ll never forget.He fought for equality, love and to make sure everyone gets a fair choice. He inspired me, as he got to the top, and fought for everyone.
  • Art: Amazing Tribute To Nelson Mandela (
    A stunning steel sculpture has been created in honor of Nelson Madela. Up close it appears there are only fifty rods of steel. They symbolize the time he spent behind prison bars. That alone would be powerful but the further you move away from the massive piece of art a surprise develops.
  • Should Catholics Praise Nelson Mandela? (
    Nelson Mandela’s death on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, at age 95, triggered a tsunami of praise and accolades across the world — from politicians, the media, Hollywood, and even the Pope.In a telegram to South African President Jacob Zuma, Pope Francis paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, praising Mandela for his “steadfast commitment … in promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth”.
  • Nelson Mandela to get a plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park (
    As David Waldstein’s story in the New York Times notes, Mandela will not be the first non-baseball figure to be honored in Monument Park. There are already plaques for masses celebrated in Yankee Stadium by  Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. There is also a monument in honor of victims of the September 11th attacks.
  • The Nelson Mandela Foundation: preserving a legacy (
    The late President Mandela lived a life of many distinct chapters – from tribal royalty, to promising student, to activist and revolutionary, to prisoner and then freedom, before becoming President and an international statesman.The Nelson Mandela Foundation was set up with the task of preserving his legacy, both in terms of the significant archive he accumulated over the course of his life, and continuing to work towards the ideals for which he sacrificed so much. It does this through the International Nelson Mandela Day, by encouraging dialogue between hostile partners, and through the Centre of Memory that Mandela set up.
  • Kanye West Didn’t Say He Was The Next Nelson Mandela (
    Thanks to the audacity he has displayed in prior interviews and the outrageous quotes they tend to generate, some people will believe anything they’re told Kanye West said. That happened late last week when a fake Yeezy interview where the rapper said he was the next Nelson Mandela fooled many.
  • Westboro Baptists ‘booking flights’ to protest Mandela’s funeral (
    In a series of deliberately-provocative Twitter posts, the church says it is buying plane tickets to South Africa and is hoping to coordinate with South African police while they stage a protest at the funeral, citing Mandela’s divorce and remarriage as evidence of damnation. Showing them to be the scum the are! Check their tweets, they almost make me want to kill one of them, and I am being serious here. Scotland, now South Africa! These sub-humans are turning the planet against them slowly
  • US religious fundamentalists, Dutch nazis against Nelson Mandela
    a minority of the tears now is not so sincere. Like in the case of
    British Conservatives who used to call Nelson Mandela a “terrorist”, and to call for him to be hanged, while he was alive. Or in the case of the Spanish conservative ruling party, which used to prefer dictator Franco to Mandela while Mandela was alive, but who now shed crocodile tears as well.On the extreme Right side of the political spectrum, some show their anti-Mandela bigotry even now.
  • Nelson Mandelas Legacy (
  • Politicians who opposed Nelson Mandela and supported Apartheid (
    In 1993, Nelson Mandela’s father, who was known to be a chief, served as a counselor to tribal chiefs for a lot years. he was a famous African.
  • Spanish conservatives, Nelson Mandela and Franco (
    Amidst the general global outpouring of grief last week at the passing of Nelson Mandela, Spain’s ruling Popular Party lamented the loss of Mandela on its Twitter account.
  • World Jewish Congress reaction to death of Nelson Mandela (
    The president of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) has called Nelson Mandela, the former South African president and campaigner against the apartheid regime who passed away Thursday at the age of 94, “unquestionably the most inspiring human rights advocate of our times”. Ronald S. Lauder declared: “Nelson Mandela was one of those very rare leaders who were revered not just by their own people but universally, across all political and communal divides. As a builder of bridges, he was second to none, and with his huge charisma, wisdom, democratic convictions and tremendous determination he ensured that the transition of his country from an apartheid state into a free and democratic nation was successful.”Lauder added: “Whilst he will be greatly missed, Nelson Mandela will continue to serve as an inspiration for countless people around the word, including many Jews. He will always be remembered as one of the world’s foremost political leaders of the past century, not least because he managed to bring together the various ethnic and religious communities of his home country. South Africans have every reason to be proud of this great son their country.”
  • Who’s who of world leaders descends on South Africa (
    The government warned that police would turn away people from Tuesday’s event when the stadium filled up, and advised South Africans who don’t live in Gauteng province to honor Mandela closer to home.  Some 90 big screens were being set up throughout the country.
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Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba passed away

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and The Mandela Rhodes Foundation send a sad message into the world:

It is with the deepest regret that we have learned of the passing of our founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela – Madiba. The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa will shortly make further official announcements.

We want to express our sadness at this time. No words can adequately describe this enormous loss to our nation and to the world.

We give thanks for his life, his leadership, his devotion to humanity and humanitarian causes. We salute our friend, colleague and comrade and thank him for his sacrifices for our freedom. The three charitable organisations that he created dedicate ourselves to continue promoting his extraordinary legacy.

Hamba Kahle Madiba

South African President Jacob Zuma slowly said, with a few interruptions of grieve that their father Madiba (how Nelson Mandela was called) had passed away and that the:

“the nation has lost its greatest son”

For the last six months the black ANC leader and anti-apartheid icon had been critically ill. Mandela’s death comes months afer his 95th birthday on July 18, which his foundation, various charities and businesses vowed to celebrate with a nationwide day of service that includes painting schools, handing out food and books, and running a 41-mile relay marathon in the spirit of Mandela’s 67 years of activism and public work.

“His tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. His humility, passion and humanity, earned him their love.”

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As solicitor he took an office just over the courthouse, in a ‘derelict place’ but without thinking of his own person started to defend the black people in that beautiful country of the southern continent near the south Pole.

Cold and hot it was for this man who first thought he could follow the peace bringer Ghandi. But after some time he did not see another solution than to take to the weapons. At first he took care that no person could have been wounded by the bombings, but the neo-nazis took care that the blacks started fighting against each other and that the country had to take up arms against those fighters. On both sides terrible things where done.

Zindzi and Zenani Mandela, Mr Mandela’s daughters, were informed of his death as the premiere of a film about their father’s life got under way in London. They are understood to have been told just as the film started – but insisted that the screening continued. Speaking on the red carpet, Zindzi Mandela had earlier told reporters her father was “fine” and that “we are hoping to see more of him”.

Others inside the Leicester Square premiere were left stunned as the film’s producer announced Mr Mandela’s death as the closing credits rolled. A moment of silence was held.

Prince William, who was also at the premiere of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, paid tribute from the lobby of the cinema.

“It was extremely sad and tragic news,” he said.

“We were just reminded of what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was and my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family right now.”

Crowds gathered outside Mr Mandela’s Johannesburg home after his death, singing songs in celebration of his achievements.

The anti-apartheid leader and Nobel laureate was a beloved figure around the world, a symbol of reconciliation from a country with a brutal history of racism. but the brutality against his race and against him did not get him down into the ground nor did it make him a man of hate. Instead he became stronger and started with the prisoners at Robbeneiland a ‘university’ to have the prisoners able to understand the men in charge.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. ”

Mandela said.

After nearly 30 years for plotting to overthrow South Africa’s apartheid government, having spend 27 years in prison, he continued to speak and hope for the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons no matter which colour or race could live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

“It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

he said in 1964, but had to be patient until 1985, President P.W. Botha offered Mandela his freedom on condition that he unconditionally reject violence as a political weapon. But Mandela rejected the proposal. He made his sentiment known through a letter he released via his daughter.

“What freedom am I being offered while the organization of the people remains banned? Only free men can negotiate. A prisoner cannot enter into contracts,” he wrote. In 1988, Mandela was moved to Victor Verster Prison and would remain there until his release.

Throughout his imprisonment, pressure mounted on the South African government to release him. Many callers for a peaceful world, from different nations started to boycot economically South Africa. The did hurt the white apartheid lovers in their pocket. They could no longer ignore the world-wide slogan “Free Nelson Mandela”.

It still took until 1990 before Mandela was released and could continue his life’s work, striving to attain the goals he and others had set out almost four decades earlier. In 1991, the first national conference of the ANC was held inside South Africa since the organization had been banned in 1960.

Mandela was elected president of the ANC, while his friend Oliver Tambo became the organization’s national chairperson. Mandela’s leadership and his work, as well as his relationship with then President F.W. de Klerk, were recognized when they were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.He later also received the Order of Merit from Queen Elizabeth II and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush.

South Africa’s first multiracial elections, held on April 27, 1994, saw the ANC storm in with a majority of 62 percent of the votes, and Mandela was inaugurated in May 1994 as the country’s first black president.

As president from May 1994 until June 1999, Mandela presided over the transition from minority rule and apartheid, winning international respect for his advocacy of national and international reconciliation.

For me his bravest step was to introduce ‘The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’ to help deal with what happened under apartheid. Giving all sides, yes also the white torturers to have their say about the times they where tortured by the blacks.

The conflict during the period of apartheid resulted in violence and human rights abuses from all sides. No section of society escaped these abuses. therefore the government of the New South Africa wanted to reconcile all parties and have them regret for what they had done, willing to give them grace when they wanted to say ‘sorry’.

Witnesses at TRC hearings were able to give testimony in their home language. Translators and transcribers, who used three different word processing packages to produce these transcriptions, worked in most of South Africa’s 11 official languages plus Polish. The TRC was seen by many as a crucial component of the transition to full and free democracy in South Africa. Despite some flaws, it is generally (although not universally) thought to have been successful.

Many people, blacks and whites worked alongside him, both publicly and in the shadows—and his death will force us to face up to what the changes and gains of the past two decades mean to the average South African. Over a few years we shall be able to judge how the grown-up children shall have learned their lesson from their father Madiba, a clan name used as a sign of respect and affection.

Madiba is a name Mandela was born into, and would be used in “an intimate context”.

Madiba was the name of a chief who ruled in the 18th century, according to the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

His fellow campaigner against apartheid and fellow South African Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu said he was not only an amazing gift to humankind,

he made South Africans and Africans feel good about being who we are. He made us walk tall. God be praised.”

“Like a most precious diamond honed deep beneath the surface of the earth, the Madiba who emerged from prison in January 1990 was virtually flawless.”

Tutu added on Friday that Madiba’s legacy would live on in South Africa.

Peter Alegi, a professor at Michigan State University specializing in South African history said:

“Using the Madiba name is to reclaim his African-ness and to downplay the Nelson part, which is a colonial legacy that unfortunately shackled much of the African continent for a long, long time,”

It was on his inauguration day in 1994 that the concept of ‘Madiba Magic’ was born – the winning influence that Nelson Mandela engendered whenever he went to watch a South African sports team. The power of the magic was no better exemplified than one year later at the same venue when South Africa beat New Zealand with a iconic extra-time drop goal to win the Rugby World Cup.

Rugby in the older times was considered to be the sport of the apartheid minded, but Mandela, wearing a Springboks shirt, paid them honour at the Rugby World Cup 1995.

Mandela’s arrival on the field in a Springbok jersey before the match stunned the crowd, mostly made up of whites, some of whom still antagonistically waving the flag of the old Apartheid regime from the stands.
Within minutes his name was being chanted by a crowd seduced by the symbolism of a black president in the controversial colours of a team previously reserved for whites only.

When he congratulated and handed over the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar this player rightly said Mandela was the one to be honoured.
After his death the Springboks paid a moving video tribute to Mandela, recalling a defining moment in the country’s history.

South African Rugby Union President Oregan Hoskins said:

“All of our lives are poorer today at the extinguishing of the great beacon of light and hope that led the way for our country through the transition to democracy. ‘Madiba’ was a great man of vision, determination and integrity who performed a miracle that amazed the world as much as it amazed his fellow countrymen.”

Brazil soccer great Pele: “Let us all continue his legacy with purpose and passion.”

Nelson Mandela holding the soccer World cup beside Capetown Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Nelson Mandela holding the soccer World cup beside Capetown Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photo: AFP

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said: “It is in deep mourning that I pay my respects to an extraordinary person, probably one of the greatest humanists of our time and a dear friend of mine: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela. When he was honoured and cheered by the crowd at Johannesburg’s Soccer City stadium on 11 July 2010, it was as a man of the people, a man of their hearts, and it was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced.”

Former England striker Gary Lineker said: “The greatest man on the planet has died. RIP Nelson Mandela.”

Many join the South Africans in this profound sense of loss and sadness on the death of their beloved Founder, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

President Obama said:

“Never discount the difference that one person can make”

South Africans united in mourning for Nelson Mandela on Friday, but while some celebrated his remarkable life with dance and song, others fretted that the anti-apartheid hero’s death would make the nation vulnerable again to racial and social tensions.

Mandela stayed strong in the terrible times and kept going for the ideal of a peaceful nation where all sorts of people could live together feeling united.
That the world may learn the lessons from that period of apartheid and will get enough inspiration from his words and work to continue his work which is not finished yet.

We sincerely hope the legacy of this man who did not let him be put down to become a man of hatred, will continue to inspire future world leaders.

That his family may have the strength to pass this time of grieve and could find solace in the works of this great man in whom they can be proud.

Let us remember him who said:

“I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.”

“To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela



Crowds outside Mandela's home

Crowds outside Mr Mandela’s home have been singing songs in his praise


Please do find:

  1. Nelson Mandela Foundation
  2. The official Truth and Reconciliation Commission Website
  3. Nelson Mandela: The Madiba magic
  4. Nelson Mandela Dead: Former South African President Dies At 95
  5. Mourning the death of Nelson Mandela: Newspaper, magazine front pages from around the world
  6. Nelson Mandela’s Death and South Africa’s Next Great Struggle
  7. Nelson Mandela: South Africa’s Hero Dies
  8. Nelson Mandela, revered statesman and anti-apartheid leader, dies at 95
  9. South Africa mourns Mandela, will bury him on December 15
  10. Live Updates: Nelson Mandela Dies
  11. Nelson Mandela Dies: Obituary Of An Icon
  12. Mandela: World Leaders Begin Paying Tribute
Posted in News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Yad Vashem: Remembering the Past, Shaping the Future

As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem wants to safeguard the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world centre for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, today located in Jerusalem Yad Vashem has become a leader in Holocaust education, commemoration, research and documentation.

U.S. President (then Senator) Barack Obama with Avner Shalev in the Hall of Names 23/7/2008

U.S. President (then Senator) Barack Obama with Avner Shalev in the Hall of Names 23/7/2008

Yad Vashem’s has a 45 acre campus comprising museums, exhibitions, memorials, sculptures, gardens, and world class research and education centers. Millions each year access Yad Vashem’s vast resources in order to study, teach and commemorate the Holocaust.

The Holocaust Resource Centre provides everybody with easy access to in-depth information about the Holocaust. It has a large collection of sources from the Yad Vashem Archives, including various kinds of original Holocaust-era documentation provided in English including letters and diaries written by Jews during the Holocaust, numerous photographs and original documents. The Holocaust Resource Centre serves as a repository for the collection of the testimonies of Holocaust survivors that have been collected at Yad Vashem over the years, as well as excerpts from memoirs written by survivors after the war. The Resource Centre supports this collection of primary sources with excerpts from research studies, as well as, works of art, and historical maps and charts and a collection of artifacts from Yad Vashem’s museum collection.

English: Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, Hall of Rememb...

Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, Hall of Remembrance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today in the West we do have many who never encountered war in their midst.  The war they know is far away from their bed and is often more presented as entertainment on the news-channels.

The world has changed a lot, though we can see similar situations occurring like in the 1930ies. Under the pressure of the cultural universalism, characteristic of an open-market economy, hyperconsumerism, we also see that human lives have lost their value again and are often overshadowed by the material goods people want to have. Materialism has gained the world. The many people also looking for the green grass in Europe are seen as a hindrance. Those who have the money  are looked at in envy. Jews who seem to keep going and to have no trouble of the whole crisis are by many considered as the origin of the financial crisis.

Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate Avner Shalev says:

Young people today regard the past not in the sense of where they have come from, but rather as a bygone series of events which are “past,” while they themselves are living “post.” This viewpoint is dangerous in that it is disjunctive rather than connective.

In the spirit of the Jewish tradition of “Vehigadeta Lebincha” (“And you will tell your children”), Yad Vashem places a heavy emphasis on educating the younger generations about the Holocaust. More than ever before, today’s youth are expressing a keen interest in their own personal history and identity. We at Yad Vashem have always believed that it is our responsibility to provide Jewish youngsters with the history of the Holocaust from a Jewish perspective. Yad Vashem is addressing this need by developing the tools needed to perpetuate the dialogue between past, present and future. Today, new technologies and display systems expand the horizons of communication. The generation of the future is immersed in a world of stimulating, high-impact media. We must relate to the visitors of the 21st century in their language.

English: children holocaust memorial at yad va...

Children holocaust memorial at yad vashem עברית: הכניסה ליד לילד ביד ושם, Original Image Name:יד לילד ביד ושם, Notes:עוזיאל שפיגל היה בנם של התורמים לאתר יד לילד. הוא נספה באושוויץ בגיל שנתיים וחצי., Location:יד ושם (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A law of Israel’s Knesset established Yad Vashem in 1953 and to commemorate that important instalment of a place to remember the worst tragedy which could come over humankind,  a commemorative coin to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum was issued by the Bank of Israel.

During a ceremony at the Jerusalem museum last Sunday night the coin was presented to Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev.

In the time where we can see the is a growing opposition to foreigners, North-African and East-European people it is important that the memory of the horrible holocaust stays imprinted in the memory of the people.

Let us hope the wish of the director of the museum comes true:

By preserving its Jewish character within the universal context, and yet maintaining an authentic voice composed of testimonies, diaries, artifacts and other documentation, Yad Vashem paves the way for a better future.




“If we wish to live and to bequeath life to our offspring,
if we believe that we are to pave the way to the future,
then we must first of all not forget.”

(Prof. Ben Zion Dinur, Yad Vashem, 1956)



Please do find my articles:

  1. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  2. Governments need to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check
  3. Holocaust remembrance statue not desired
  4. Zionism comments and the place of Jerusalem in the world
  5. Palestine, Israel, God’s people and democracy

You may find the museum:

Yad Vashem World Centre for Holocaust Remembrance


Yad Vashem Hall of Names

Yad Vashem Hall of Names (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Also of interest:

  1. Uncovering the Foundations of Faith
  2. Two State Solution
  3. Presentation: Crisis in the Middle East – Bible Expectations
  4. Patriarch Abraham, Muslims, Christians and the son of God
  5. Are the Jews really God’s Chosen People
  6. Apple of Gods eye
  7. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  8. A Holy week in remembrance of the Blood of life
  9. High Holidays not only for Israel
  10. Hanukkahgiving or Thanksgivvukah
  11. Stand Up
  12. American atheists most religiously literate Americans
  13. Christadelphians or Messianic Christians or Messianic Jews


Here Their Stories Will Be Told…

The late Dr Mohamed Helmy's family refuse to accept the certificate, shown here by Irena Steinfeldt, an official at Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial

The late Dr Mohamed Helmy’s family refuse to accept the certificate, shown here by Irena Steinfeldt, an official at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial

  • Yad Vashem Lookout (
    The museum is not only a physical storage for artifacts and exhibits but acts as a physical and emotional guide to the tragedy of the Holocaust.  He indicates that his “designs are specific to place, and culture – they are inspired by, and woven into the historic, cultural and social fabric of the site”.  Safdie has most certainly utilized place by using the view as an indication of renewal and new beginnings.
    Yad Vashem compared to Four Freedoms Park
    Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum ( Children’s Holocaust Memorial 1987, Transport Memorial 1995, and Holocaust History Museum 2005 (prism shaped building)) Yad Vashem is located on the western slope of Mt. Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem.
    Four Freedoms Park, New York, NY (Construction started in 2010; completed in 2012)
  • Holocaust Seminar – What made me want to go to Poland. (
    The Holocaust seminar was really an important experience for me. I know about the Holocaust and I’ve been to Yad Vashem before, but this time it was different. Maybe it was the fact that I’m living in Israel that made it more meaningful. Perhaps it was the fact that I am 18 now, and I’m much more mature and can understand it better than before.
    We left Yad Vadshem and had some free time until my next elective – Psychology of the Killer and Bystander. This elective was my favorite of the day, and I had so much fun.  We focused on Psychology experiments, such as Zimbardo’s Prison, Kitty Genovese, and Milgram’s obedience experiment. I was having such a great time because I learned all of this in AP Psychology senior year of high school, and I remembered every single topic we discussed that day.
  • Yad Vashem to teach Turkish academics about Holocaust (
    Yad Vashem is partnering with UNESCO’s Aladdin Project to hold a Holocaust education seminar in Turkey.Some 20 academics who teach in private and public universities in Turkey will participate in the program organized by the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem in cooperation with the Aladdin Project and the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance at Galatasaray University in Istanbul.
  • Egyptian Family Said No to Yad Vashem (
    The Time Of Israel reported today that an Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was to receive Righteous Among the Nations honour, but relative rightly says ‘family doesn’t want anything from Israel’A member of the family of the first Arab honoured by Israel for risking his life to save Jews during the Holocaust says the family isn’t interested in the recognition.
  • A Romanian seamstress who saved Jews – and her husband – in WWII (
    Elisabetha Nicopoi Strul learned of an imminent pogrom in Iasi, warned her Jewish neighbors and co-workers, and hid some of them; she married one of the Jews she saved and later immigrated to Israel with him.
  • Egyptian Family Said No to Yad Vashem (
    “Mohamed Helmy was an Egyptian doctor who lived in Berlin and hid several Jews during the Holocaust. Last month, he was honoured by Israel’s Yad Vashem Museum as “Righteous Among the Nations”
  • Hero soldiers honoured by Yad Vashem (
    Yad Vashem honoured the relatives of five British PoWs this week by naming them Righteous Amongst the Nations in a ceremony at the House of Lords.Also receiving the awards, presented by Israeli envoy Daniel Taub, were the relatives of a Lithuanian and a Polish citizen.

    Lord Janner, who hosted the event, said: “I’m proud to celebrate and remember the selfless acts of these individuals. We can not forget the heinous crimes of the Holocaust.”

Posted in History, News and Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rose adagio – Svetlana Zakharova

I was so much taken by this performance I did have to share it with you.

Sometimes the music director could have slowed down a little bit or given a pause to have some great balances and ‘visual points and comma’s”. Enjoy the superb technique and mastery of movement.



Posted in Ballet + Dance/Dans | Tagged , | Leave a comment